178 – June 27
“To pretend to satisfy one’s desire by possession is like using straw to put out a fire.”—Chinese Proverb
A major “Money Malady” is “spending bulimia,” which is a habit pattern of buying things out of impulse, without regard to chosen spending priorities. For some, the buying habit is a quick fix to emotionally lift their spirits—it’s fun to buy a new outfit, a new golf club, or a new car and then have the satisfaction of the complimentary “oohs” and “ahhs” from other people. Some buy presents for others as a way of buying love, the emotional high is seeing someone else excited over a new toy and being grateful for the gift and the gift-giver. Other people are on the spending cycle because they are used to it and haven’t thought of another hobby—going to the mall has become a national pastime.
Unfortunately, the quick fix doesn’t last long. You’re high on the purchase for maybe one day, and high on the compliments for another day. Then you’ve got to start all over again, buying something else to get another fix.
I believe in replacement therapy—if you’ve developed a bad habit, it’s easier to replace it with another habit that is good than to just stop doing the bad habit. So instead of telling people they can’t go shopping, I tell them they can go shopping—they just can’t go spending. For example, you want to go to the mall. Great! Go—but leave all your cash, checks and credit cards at home. You take a tablet and a pen with you and as you shop, you write down all the things you’d like to buy and their price tags. It’s really quite fun, because money is no object—you’re just shopping, not buying. You still have the enjoyment of looking at all the wonderful toys and beautiful things—like when you go to a great exhibit or museum. When you get home, total up all the prices of the items you would have bought and congratulate yourself—“I saved $40,000 today!”
(Continued on page 178 of The Wealthy Spirit)
“I have all the riches I desire right now!”
A friend was visiting my roommate and parked in the driveway, so I just parked my car on the street. I thought I’d move the car into the garage after she left, but I forgot about it.
Imagine my dismay when I went to get in my car the next morning and there was a big fat dent on the driver’s side door. Someone had hit me and didn’t leave a note. Boo hiss! I’m insured for these things of course, but it cost me the $500 deductible plus a car rental and I was a little grumpy about that.
My insurance company, 21st Century, was bought out a while back by Farmers. I hadn’t noticed any change in service, until I called to report this accident and got a call center. Sigh. The young man on the phone was doing the best he could, but he was just reading his script, you know what I mean? At one point I asked him a question and he just kept reading. I had to yell into the phone 3 times before he stopped and asked me if I had a question. So frustrating. Particularly because the employees I used to talk with at the old company were friendly and fun and could have a real conversation, just like a human being. I miss that…
So, I went down to the body shop I have used before, even though the call center guy tried to steer me to someone else. James at Martin Cadillac’s body shop was terrific and took care of all the paperwork while I went across the parking lot to the car rental office. The guy there said they didn’t have many cars available, and the best he could do was an SUV for $59 per day. That was just too much in my opinion, since it was going to be 5 days before I got my car back and that’s $300 more out of my pocket. I said, “I’d really like something for $30 a day” and he said he couldn’t do it. I said, “Then never mind, thanks,” and went back to James to take my car back.
James is smart. He was already on the phone with the car rental guy trying to get him to negotiate the rate on the SUV. He wasn’t getting anywhere, so he said, “She wants to pay $30 per day, so give it to her for that. I’ll pay the difference,” and made the deal.
I smiled at him and said, “You’re a smart cookie, James.”
He smiled back and said, “Some people just don’t get it. We’ve got business here and he’s got a bunch of cars sitting on the lot unrented. So you make a deal and everybody wins!”
Found myself a Dolphin in the auto body shop. Think I’ll ever go anywhere else? Think I’ll recommend them every chance I get?
In poker, they call this “implied odds” – the value you expect to receive on your action after the initial bet. In life, it’s the value of customer retention – you give a little bit of money up now, but you get a customer for life and the thousands of dollars of business that represents.
Where can you apply this in your life today?